The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) was created to provide critical water quality information to protect public health at the beach. Local, trained volunteers dedicate every other Sunday to collecting and taking the samples to a laboratory space located within the University of Hawaii Manoa’s Kewalo Marine Laboratory to be processed. Surfrider uses this volunteer water testing program to raise awareness of local pollution problems and bring together our community to implement solutions. Here on Oʻahu, ka kai (ocean water) is essential for cultural, economic, and recreational practices. So why do we test for Enterococcus? Enterococcus is a fecal indicator bacteria with water quality standards that we can compare to ensure public health. At Surfrider Oʻahu, we acknowledge the Hawaiʻi Department of Healthʻs (HDOH) testing. However, because they only test highly visited beaches and avoid testing after heavy rainfall, BWTF has come in to fill the gaps. Testing after heavy rain is important because of brown water, especially in areas near a freshwater source, carries nutrients that can severely affect your health. At surfrider, we test sites along the South, East, and North shore, continuously extending our reach to ensure everyone has access to their local water quality data. In 2021, the O‘ahu BWTF collected nearly 500 water quality samples from 23 beaches. Through our clean water programs and state advocacy, Surfrider is leading a diverse network of families, canoe clubs, surfers, divers and local communities across Hawai‘i in support of a more equitable and representative state-run water quality monitoring program and clean water for all people. ‘A‘ohe hana nui ke alu ‘ia,’ or ‘No task is too big when done together by all.’
Instagram: Surfrider Oʻahu Chapter – @surfrideroahu
Facebook: Surfrider Foundation – Oʻahu Chapter
Calander: Surfrider events
Photo by: Erik Kabik
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